SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – A judge Thursday ordered two Border Patrol agents to stay away from a Navy doctor who complained when she saw the couple groping each other during a performance of Cirque du Soleil in Del Mar.
Gerald Joseph Torello, 35, and Kallie Lamb Helwig, 25 — who were off duty at the time — face misdemeanor charges of battery, annoying or molesting a child, and two counts of performing lewd acts in public. Torello is also charged with making a criminal threat.
A witness to the May 27 incident, Navy psychiatrist Chai Wu, testified during a bail review for the defendants on Wednesday that Torello gave a nearby child a high-five as he continued his sexual intimacy with Helwig.
Wu also testified that she feared for her safety because Helwig attacked her after she drew attention to the couple.
According to court documents, Wu and others were at a matinee performance of Cirque du Soleil when the defendants sat down next to Wu’s husband, Navy officer Devlin McNeil.
Helwig and Torello began “kissing, fondling and groping” each other, causing them to bump into McNeil as he tried to watch the show, according to prosecutors.
“We noticed this couple next to us. They were making out heavily. She had her hand down his pants,” Wu told 10News outside of court. “I looked away at that point because I just couldn’t believe they would do something like that in broad daylight with children and families around. My friend who is a lieutenant surgeon in the Navy looked over and commented that, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe it, she’s unbuckling his pants.'”
McNeil and Wu repeatedly asked the defendants to stop the behavior, and Torello responded by saying, “Talk to her (Helwig) like that again and I will kill you,” court documents allege.
“At one point, her face was in his lap and … it looked like she was giving him oral sex, and I just could not believe it, and then he high fives a little kid who was in front,” recalled Wu.
Wu then used her iPhone to get the attention of ushers, who stopped the activity.
At the end of the show, Helwig and Torello allegedly confronted Wu and her group near an exit.
The victim’s group heard Torello say to Helwig, “I know you’re a tough girl. You can take her. Don’t chicken out,” according to the prosecution.
“As I was trying to exit, she jumps me and punched me in the face three times,” said Wu. “My only thought was, oh my gosh, she punched me. The second thought was I’m not going to let her get away so I lunged in and grabbed her hair and pulled her close so that she couldn’t get in any more swings at me.”
When security broke up the fight, Wu told them she wanted to press charges.
Prosecutors allege Helwig punched Wu in the eye and jaw and Torello grabbed the victim by the arms.
Judge Daniel Goldstein allowed the defendants to remain free on their own recognizance and scheduled a status conference for Sept. 14. Trial was set for Nov. 1.
Under the protective order, Torello and Helwig cannot be within 100 yards of Wu. Additionally, they were ordered to stay away from the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
The defendants remain on administrative leave from the Border Patrol while their case is pending.
An attorney for one of the agents told 10News both sides of this case tell very different accounts of what happened.